Automotive brands fail the multi-channel test

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on September 28, 2007

Only 20% of automotive brands currently offer their customers and prospects truly comprehensive multi-channel communication options, including mail, telephone, web, and e-mail, according to a UK multi-channel marketing standards survey by Navigator Customer Management.

The range of communication channels were identified in the survey by visiting the web sites of leading automotive brands. The survey found that, beyond the 20% that offer all possible channels, an additional 20% provide only telephone, web and SMS-based contact options for potential customers.

Losing key audiences
Out of the 41 marques analysed, 80% of brands revealed that they have not yet implemented what Navigator terms "joined-up customer communications" through the customer's channel of choice, and therefore may be losing key audiences.

In contrast, there is an elite 20% of automotive companies have taken all the right steps for customer and prospect management, using direct communications to gain a full return on their investment from above-the-line advertising spending, as well as building customer satisfaction with the aim of encouraging aftermarket sales and repeat purchases.

Critical contact points
In the increasingly competitive automotive market, ease of contact for existing customers and for potential buyers is critical, the company warns. In this context, despite the fact that many UK households still do not have their own home internet connection, some 23% of car adverts and 18% of automotive web sites still do not provide a telephone number for customers and prospects to call, despite the fact that the telephone is a universally accessible means of communication.

With equal disregard for simple consumer practicality, despite the UK's impressive mobile phone penetration rate of around 116% (an average of 1.16 operational mobile phones per person), a worrying 78% of automotive advertising still does not offer SMS as a method of first response.

According to Rob Denton, managing director for Navigator, "This study shows that the automotive market is divided by attitude and experience rather than by product type. It is possible that the command and control systems within the companies studied are in need of reorganisation. Contact centre activity, especially toward existing customers, is often not within the remit and budget of new customer acquisition. Savings through closing off a channel may seem significant in one management area, where they are relatively insignificant in another".

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